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Honor In Colonial Latin America

Uploaded by london28 on Dec 10, 2004

Attempting to describe honor and how it was understood in colonial Latin America we must first know how it is understood today. Thereby giving us a point of reference and judgment. According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (, honor is defined as “good name or public esteem”; “reputation”; “a person of superior standing”. Honor in colonial Latin America was viewed much like today yet threats and reactions to threats have changed over time.

Honor, just as today, is the way your name is viewed by others in the public. Threats toward ones honor might be defended differently in the public view. Honor varied between genders. Males felt it necessary to defend their honor when another slighted their masculinity, family, or physical ability. Females felt honor too. They often saw it important to defend their honor like did the males. Usually it was defended by gossip or name-calling but on occasion did result in physical violence as well. Females saw honor in a moral sense. Ones sexual activity or lack thereof before marriage, fidelity in marriage and celibacy after marriage all proved a woman to be honorable. Just like today, a personal reputation would be on the line if called a demoralizing name.

Honor within the different ethnic groups varied as well. With great pride, ethnicities are separated into different groups. The Peninsulars saw themselves as greater then all others in Latin America since they thought their group to be the greatest. Threats or accusations made by someone outside the class were a grave mistake that often led to death. Action was necessary to maintain ones honor. Crioles being the second in rank of racial standing had something to gain by attempting to damage the honor of someone greater then himself. Threats unanswered or unsuccessfully challenged could boast ones honor within the society.

Classes in colonial Latin America are most commonly viewed by social standing or by ones wealth. The different levels of classes had their honor to defend. Social expectations needed to be defended. The family within a class also had a certain honor to defend. Any actions that would defile a family member would defile the honor of the family. The status of the family within the class would be on...

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Uploaded by:   london28

Date:   12/10/2004

Category:   Social Sciences

Length:   2 pages (501 words)

Views:   10201

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